We need to participate

Serenda Duimpies, Heide­dal:

I am writing this letter to this weekly publication with the purpose to educate the community about democracy and public participation.

As the preamble to the Constitution puts it, government must be based on the will of the people. It presupposes free political discussions, the toleration of differences between people, and the right of all citizens to participate in political decision-making.

Are we involved in decision-making processes?

Citizens vote and elect people to make decisions on their behalf. Representative democracy means that representatives are elected to the office and must make decisions on behalf of the electorate.

It is, however, also important for citizens to participate in public affairs.

The general right to participate includes engaging in public debate and dialogue with elected representatives at public hearings and the duty to facilitate public participation.

We as citizens have a constitutional right to be involved and participate in government processes on an ongoing basis to ensure that the people we vote for, carry out their duties as promised.